Monday, August 28, 2023, will mark the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington, organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin and featured Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. On Saturday, August 26, JACL will join the National Action Network who will be leading the anniversary march, with the theme titled, “Not a Commemoration, A Continuation”. This theme is an acknowledgment that the fight for civil rights today, as it was 60 years ago, is unabating, tenacious, and uninterrupted. From the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Affirmative Action to the book and curriculum erasure happening around the country, it is clear that there is still work to be done and the forces of White Supremacy continue to flourish and exert their hatred and bigotry.
In 1963, JACL leaders and members marched in solidarity, in recognition that the racism they faced was no different from that which formed the basis of segregation laws targeting African Americans. They wanted to ensure that the injustices that led to the mass incarceration of 125,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the United States never befell any other marginalized community. They also wanted to demonstrate that the Japanese American community also had a place in the growing civil rights movement. Engagement in the 1963 march would pave the way for JACL to take a leading role in issues such as the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case, and ultimately, empowering our community to achieve redress for WWII incarceration 35 years ago.
In this year’s coming march, we are honored to take part again and to share our voice and our community’s voice. While JACL was the only Asian American organization to formally join the 1963 march, this year we look forward to being joined by hundreds more of our partner Asian American organizations. JACL Executive Director, David Inoue will be one of several other Asian American voices speaking out on Saturday morning where he will highlight the unfinished work to achieve social and economic justice for all in this country.
We acknowledge, just as we did then, that there is much to be done. This Saturday is just one further step we take to ensure the dreams of 60 years ago become a reality.